Literal retellings of the story of Jesus have been replaced with more modern, ideological and symbolic tales that represent the passion of Christ (Walsh, 29). Christ figure films tell a more contemporary story in which characters, events, and details recall the gospel story, most notably Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice. The religious elements are often portrayed through a narrative which on the surface tells an entirely different story (Baugh, 2007: 17). A Christ figure film often depicts a character who is suffering and sacrifice's himself to save others (Tatum, 13-14). Christ figures in film represent the religious themes of Jesus' betrayal, humiliation and suffering (Deacy, 330).
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) is an example of a Christ figure film. The character of Aslan is a representation of Jesus. Aslan sacrifices himself for Edward and comes back to life, symbolizing the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
Stuart Rosenberg's Cool Hand Luke (1967) is also an example of a Christ figure film (Baugh, 2007: 17; Telford, 1997: 123). Luke Jackson is suffering in prison and sacrifices himself for his fellow inmates. Cool Hand Luke (1967) is a modern interpretation of the Jesus story.
(Image from Cool Hand Luke (1967) courtesy of Warner Bros.)
This photo is an image of Luke after he has eaten 50 eggs. Luke lies down in the shape of a cross, symbolizing the crucifixion of Christ (Barron, 102). This image is designed to reinforce the message that Luke is a representation for Jesus (Sloat, 458).